Albania ♥

Albania ♥

Monday, July 27, 2015


Hello Family and Friends,
I just want to thank you all for your support and your prayers. They mean a lot to me:) I love you all and I pray for your safety and happiness every day! 
With that being said, I'll tell you about my week... It was AWESOME:)
We had our first exchange of this transfer with our Sister Training Leaders. Sister Zollinger who is now in Fourth Ward, came to stay with me for a day in First ward and we had a blast! She is such an amazing person inside and out.  I remember my first night in Albania.  I was fresh off the plane, a little shell shocked and nervous and excited all at once and she was the one who took me to my first lesson and I could tell right then what an amazing person she was. She was so calm and patient with me and she has continued to be there for me throughout my mission.  We had an awesome day together and the Spirit was present all throughout the day. I'm thankful that Heavenly Father has allowed me to meet such amazing people on my mission.  I've learned something from every single person I have served with and around.  My gratitude for my Heavenly Father grows as I realize how lucky I really am.
Our investigator Mar is doing awesome! We actually had written down and scheduled that she would be baptized on the 8th of August but she told us this week that she wants to get baptized this week so we got her in for a Baptismal interview.   She is now ready to be baptized this next week and she is SO excited! I've seen a huge change in her since the day we first started teaching her. She seems so much happier and she knows that she has found the road that her Heavenly Father wants her to be on! Shes already setting a good example for those around her.. even members and I am so so happy for her to become EVEN closer to her Heavenly Father next week:) If you could keep her in your prayers that everything will go well that will be awesome!:)
I also had a humbling experience yesterday... I was a little stressed out during church because there was so much I had to do and I had to get a lot done for Mar's baptism and I'll be honest, I was pretty stressed. I told my companion I had to go to another room. I took a few deep breathes and when I came out there was a member from the Third ward sitting on the benches outside. When I came out and saw her she said "How are you?"  I was honest and I said "I'm stressed" I went on to talk about my problems and how much I had to do and how I felt like I just kept getting more responsibilities every second. When I finally took a breathe from talking I realized that she didn't look like her usually happy/excited self that she usually is. I stopped mid sentence and asked her if everything was okay and holding back tears she said "I'm fine". (being a girl myself I know that when a girl says she is "fine" she is not "fine") I asked again what was wrong and she went on to explain her stresses.  I asked her if there was anything I could do for her and she said "You've already done enough just by listening" I realized how selfish I had been for just talking about myself when someone who needed way more help than me was sitting right next to me struggling. I remembered a quote that I have in my planner that talks about stress and how God knows our capacity and he will not push us further than we can bear. I knew she needed to read it so I handed it to her. She read quietly to herself and then looked up to me with tears in her eyes and said "Thank you, I needed that so much"  I didn't do much but it gave her at least a big enough boost to get her on her feet again.
I learned a lot in that situation and I realized that trying to help her lift her burdens was actually making mine seem lighter.  After helping her I had forgot why I was even stressed in the first place. There is a song that I've heard a lot on my mission called "Look up".  It talks about when we are so focused on looking down or focused on other things, we often miss the opportunities around us. I'm thankful for that humbling situation I had the other day to make me realize how little my problems are compared to those around me. I also feel like I had been put in those stressful situations so that I am able to help and relate to those around me. 
It was an awesome week with lots or learning involved. I'm thankful for my blessings and experiences I have everyday. I'm thankful for this work and I know President Monson's words to be true. "NO Cause NO Force in the entire World can stop the work of God". I love you all and I hope you have an amazing week. "JUST KEEP SWIMMING" Me dashuri- Your Motra
"Me and Sister Bennett trapped in a room at the Institute building because the Single Adults
were watching a movie we couldn't see"

"Poor lizard got stuck on our sticky counter yesterday...we tried to save him but then his
tail popped off and he started moving and then he was on his own"  HAHAHA

"Albania is cool"

"all my companions think I'm weird..............."

"I don't know if I have ever seen a sunflower so big in real life so I had to take a pic....and a selfie :)"

"hahahaha she's the best!"

"I made Sister Bennett her first German pancakes ♥ they grow up so fast"

"OH and here are some pics from mission conference about a month ago! We just got the pics back:)"


Monday, July 20, 2015

MY WEEK! I dont know what week it is but it's been a couple now haha

SO many awesome experiences and blessings every single week. I've already noticed that I have used a lot of experiences from my mission to teach people here and I know that I will be sharing them with people the rest of my life.   I just cant wait to experience more!:) 

I've learned a lot and I've grown a lot (not in stature).  Usually we dont see the immediate consequence to our actions whether they be good or bad, but lately as I have looked back on my mission and the almost 9 months that I've been out I've been able to see the blessings that I may have overlooked at the time, but now I realize how amazing they really were. Every week just keeps getting better and is full of new amazing experiences. 

For example, there was a member that had called us one day randomly in the morning. We usually do studies in the morning so we were in the house and she called us and wanted us to come over. We still had a lot to do and she lives in a place that I wouldnt call close, but we knew what we had to do. I wasnt sure what she needed or why she had called so we werent sure what to do. But we went with a prayer in our hearts that we would be able to discern her needs. As soon as we walked in you could tell how grateful she was. You could tell that her problems had been wearing her down. As we sat and listened to her thoughts and feelings. I wanted to help her so bad, but i just didnt know what she needed. I suggested that we say a prayer to bring the spirit so that she could feel better and she thought it was a great idea.  As we prayed I was hoping to be enlightened to know what to say and when I finished the prayer I was still not sure what to talk about and no specific scriptures popped into my head like I thought they would, but I felt that I just needed to open them.  When I flipped open my scriptures I was lead to a small section and we just read together out of the Book of Mormon. I watched from what seemed to be the saddest face in the world turn into a smile. We talked, we testified together, and the power of the Book of Mormon touched her heart. I dont think it was the section that had the impact on her, but more of the fact that she just needed to read out of that specific Book. The book that truly has all the answers to our questions, the comfort we are looking for, and the strength to keep going.  Later that night Sister Bennett and I were saying a closing prayer to out nightly planning. After asking Heavenly Father if the plans we had set for the next day were in line with his will, Sister Bennett felt like we needed to call that sister to make sure she was doing better so we did.  Her phone rang and rang and when she answered she sounded pretty upset still and asked if we needed something. I told her that we were just calling to make sure she was doing better and that we love her and we are here if she needs anything. She burst into tears. When she could finally get a few words out she said "thank you thank you thank you, that was an answer to my prayers!" I made sure she was doing okay and asked if there was anything we could do and she said "no no, thats all I needed thank you, I love you goodnight" I learned from this experience that we never know how one small thing can make a huge difference in someones life. Our decisions have an impact on others. No matter how big or how small and we have the choice to make it a good one or a bad one. We have the choice to act. 

Another instance of this was when we were in a lesson with one of our investigators. We had been teaching the Gospel to her and she has been kind of hesitant about a few of the things we have been teaching, but Sister Bennett and I had made a plan that we were going to ask her to be Baptized in this lesson NO MATTER what. When the time came, I  could tell that we were both a little hesitant because of how the lesson had went, but I had learned from other times on my mission that the times it was hardest to ask someone, were the times that they usually say Yes. The reason it's so hard is because Satan knows the outcome. SO, we asked her and she said YES.  We set a date and then Sk (our other investigator) said "Wait, you mean that she's going to go see a baptism on that day right?" and our investigator goes "No, I'M getting baptized!" and she was so happy and then Sk goes "Well then if she gets baptized, maybe I'll get baptized after" We were so happy and grateful after that lesson and once again I saw the power and the impact a sentence/question can have on someone. 

I'M thankful for agency. Im thankful that we all have the freedom to choose whether it be for good or bad. A lot of times I find myself thinking in my head "I hate agency".  Usually after someone slams a door in my face or says they cant come to church because they need to go to the beach.  But when I really think about what a blessing agency is I'm humbled once again. It's such an essential part of Heavenly Fathers plan for us. Without agency, it would be Satans plan. We make decisions everyday that will change our life and those around us, but the good news is that even though people make mistakes, (and we all do) we can be cleansed through the Atonement. I don't have words for the feelings that I feel when hearing that word. It hits me now more than it ever has before as I realize what it means. I still don't understand the full meaning of the Atonement and all it contains, but the change I have seen in my life and the lives of those I love is enough to strengthen my understanding. I am forever grateful for my Savior and his sacrifice. I know that he suffered for my mistakes and my heartaches so that I could be happy and I know that there is nothing I can do to FULLY repay him, but I can surely try my best. 

I love you all, I am thankful for you.
Until next week my friends - Your Motra 

"Random selfie because I realized last minute I forgot to take
pictures this week...oops :)"

"This is as close as we got to anything that had to do with the 4th of July haha"

"My childs first Sufflaqe :)"

Monday, July 13, 2015


I honestly don't really know where to start with this week haha. So much happened!! Ahhhh
I guess Ill start with An.
An has been so ready for baptism for awhile now and just couldn't find a way to come to church but then with lots of prayer and fasting she finally found a way.  So we had her on another baptismal date for this week.  She was talking about how excited she was the whole week before and then on Tuesday I randomly got a text that said she wasn't being baptized anymore because her kids are Orthodox and they don't want their family to be separated. "I'm sorry, I'm really upset, but I'm going to have to cancel the baptism and take myself away from the church" she said. I was in shock and to be honest it broke my heart. Luckily when I got the text we were in District meeting so I could present the situation to everyone there and hear their feedback because at this point I didn't know what to do, I just knew I had to do something. I couldn't just let her leave. We tried calling her and she didn't answer so one of the Elders suggested that I call this member that had been in a lot of her lessons and see if she could talk to her.  So I did and the member was just about as upset as me. She knew how close and ready she was and she asked if I could try to get someone else to talk to her because she was too upset.  Later in the day I get another call from the member asking if we could all meet that night and have a lesson with An. I was kind of confused because she seemed like a totally different person on the phone. We of course changed our schedule around so that we could meet with her. When we walked up to them An came over to me and hugged me and started crying and saying sorry and I thought to myself "This is going to be an emotional lesson" I was already ready to cry right there on the street. When we found somewhere to meet, the member (Sister T) explained what had happened. She went on to explain that after I had called her she was really upset so she got on the bus to go home. A couple minutes later , guess who gets on the bus? An. She knew that was no coincidence. 100 % the hand of the Lord.  She changed her attitude and walked over to An. I'm not sure what exactly she said to her that changed her mind but I think it was somewhere along the lines of how her family wouldn't be separated, as a matter of fact they would be even closer than before and that Satan is just trying to get her not to be baptized. An wasn't sure why all of this happened so we explained to her that Satan works REALLY hard on those coming closer to Heavenly Father. He knew how strong An is and how ready she is.  He tried to break her down. We had a really good talk and she said "Okay, so I can still get baptized this week right?"   Wow. I don't know how to explain how happy I was. I just want to say again how aware Heavenly Father is of EACH and EVERY one of his children. I know that Heavenly Father made sure that An got on the same bus as Sister T.  God will win the battle against Satan EVERY TIME. An was baptized this past Saturday and received the Holy Ghost the next day and now is the happiest person I've ever seen. 
Another cool thing. We were coming home from a lesson one night this week and we saw the neighbor of one of the families we are teaching so we decided to walk over and talk to her for a little bit. When we sat down she asked us if we could come over and teach her because she wants to learn more and talk about Jesus Christ. She said "Ill meet you wherever I need to, whatever is good for you, I just want to meet" So we met with her the next day and had an AWESOME lesson on the Restoration. She had a lot of questions and listened intently the whole time. Her neighbor wanted to interrupt but she told him to listen because "this is important" she said. She didn't stop thanking us after the lesson and said she wanted us to come over again. It was great! Another witness that God places people in the right place at the right time and that he is aware of everyone. 
We have this other investigator Mar who is getting ready for baptism in a couple of weeks and she is progressing so well. We hadn't even taught Law of Chastity or modesty yet and she has been dressing better and told us that when she gets dressed she just feels happier and more comfortable when she is wearing modest clothes. We can see the light of Christ working within her already. I love watching people change. Not into different people, but into better people. I love love LOVE it. 
My companion Sister Bennett is doing so awesome! She is already getting better at the language and trying so hard to be the best missionary she can be. I love working with her. She is such a good example and never complains. She says "Okay, what are we doing now?" with a smile on her face and then we just go for it. I thought as a Trainer I would be pretty alone in all of this but she is awesome and always wants to help me. I'm so blessed. 
I don't know what else to say...  I'm just happy. I love missionary work. I love Tirana. I love the people here. I love the heat (some days) I love this Gospel. I love my Family. I love my Friends. I love my Heavenly Father. I hope you all have an amazing week. Zoti eshte I Madh. Keep smiling. Keep going.  Me dashuri - Your Motra 
"My cool companion.  LIVE as of RIGHT NOW.  It's too hot to get ready."

"Spidey wants to learn more about the Plan of Salvation."

"Grape vines EVERYWHERE.  So pretty."

"An's baptism.  Albanians don't like to smile haha"

"An's baptism program and a cool view of Tirana!"


Monday, July 6, 2015

SHQIPERIIAAAA. - Week one of training :O

Crazy things happening here in Tirana!:) 
     At the beginning of this week before I got my trainee I was in another trio (because my companion went to Kosovo and they wouldn't let me be a solo sister haha ) with Sister White again and Sister Fuller who are now my Sister Training leaders and they are in the Tirana 4th ward! SO I got to go to my " birthplace" (they call it that wherever your first area is) 
One of the only reasons I was sad to go to Tirana First ward so abruptly was because I didn't get to say goodbye to anyone that I met that whole first 6 months of my mission. When I heard that I got to go to Fourth ward for a couple of days I was SO EXCITED. I knew that we probably wouldn't have enough time to go and see all of my people so I said a small prayer in my heart that I would be able to see at least some people that I know and love and Heavenly Father answered my prayer. I was able to see about 10 people in the 1 1/2 days I was there and they were all basically unplanned. I saw investigator after investigator walking on the streets, a recent convert that never comes to activities came to an activity, and the family I love invited us over, and another lady who I became pretty close to I ran into randomly on the streets. In the whole time I was in that area serving, I NEVER saw so many people that I knew in one day. On occasion i would run into about 1 person I knew but seeing 10 people was NOT a coincidence and I know it had everything to do with Heavenly Father. 
     The next day we went to the office where we had a meeting with the trainers so President Weidmann could pump us up before the real business started. We had a really awesome testimony meeting. I had so many emotions at the time along with the Spirit touching my heart that I may have cried. President Weidmann looked to me with a worried look and I had to assure him that I wasn't THAT scared, just feeling the spirit and I don't think he believed me haha.
      Then the trainees came in and we had a really awesome meeting  talking about the first jump into missionary work. The trainees all seemed ready to go to work and excited/a teeny bit nervous but ready. Then President announced who was with who. As soon as we found out who we were with, President Weidmann asked us to bear our testimonies as a companionship. Trainer first and then Trainee. As I bore my testimony, I could literally feel my nerves going away and I felt the assurance that everything was going to be okay and then as she bore hers, I knew we were going to be alright. 
     My companions name is Sister Bennett and SHE IS AWESOME. These past couple of days have been so funny watching her grow, hearing her testimony in Albanian, and seeing her desire to help our investigators grow. She is always thinking about them and their needs and she really puts her energy into helping them. There have also been a couple moments where I have REALLY seen the Gift of Tongues work in her where the words would just flow out of her mouth and the people would understand. No matter how scary it was for her.   It was really a testimony builder for me. 
     Heavenly Father has also given me a lot of strength. These past couple of days have been super crazy for me. One of my biggest fears was not being able to find my way around in this new area and I have yet to have gotten lost. haha There have been a lot of times where I was not sure where I was going and the Spirit literally led me directly there. I have had to put a lot of trust in my Heavenly Father because I know that there is no way that I could do all of this by myself.  
    In putting my trust in Him he has blessed me tremendously, with the Gift of Tongues, with direction, and with strength. We saw a lot of blessings this week. A family that we are teaching managed to come to church when they usually have a million excuses. They are progressing slowly but surely but every time we go over to their house they seem to have changed a little bit in small ways. Maybe they don't want to be baptized right now, but their prayers which used to be selfish "give me this and give me that" have now turned into thanks for the blessings that they already have. I was so surprised at the spirit that the Father of the Family brought into the room in his prayer where he literally didn't even ask for a thing. Just straight thanks for the things he has and it was so awesome to see their slow, but sure progression to come unto Christ. 
    To be honest I don't really know what its like to be IN my comfort zone anymore. Every day is full of crazy adventures and amazing experiences and every time I think I cant do anymore, Heavenly Father comes to the rescue to save me and give me the strength to do hard things. And in my hard times I can feel myself coming closer to my Heavenly Father. This truly is the best time of my life. Not because its fun or in a crazy foreign land, but because I really am closer to my Heavenly Father than I ever have been before. 
     I love you all and I'm thankful for your support and love. 
until next week- Your Motra 
"My cute new trainee Sister Bennett ♥ IM A 'MOM'"

"My head exploding from studying Albanian :)"

"I got to see my cute Lakaj family when I was in Tirana 4th ward again! :D
(and you thought I was short haha) I ♥ them so much"

"Life with Sister Fuller ♥ she makes me happy :)"

"I got my cute Utah shirt in the mail this week... the only thing missing in the picture
is "U" hahaha get it?? No?  okay sorry...I'm turning into an awkward missionary."

"Trio with Motra White and Motra Fuller.  Life is too much fun with these two ♥"

" I have a cute pic of mom and dad in my planner so whenever I'm having a hard time
I can't help but laugh when I look at it :)  Makes my days a little brighter"

"Starting to make a love wall again like I did in the MTC.  What do you think?"